A couple came in for therapy this week. She said the problem is that he never comes home for week—night dinner. He denied that. Rather, he said the problem was communication. They both have a point. The real problem is that the couple cannot communicate about his not coming home for dinner.

    Arguments often arise when we communicate passionately about a certain subject. The subject triggers aggression which stymies communication. So, the wife wants to talk to her husband about his dinner attendance, but he doesn’t want to. When his wife brings up the subject, he gets heated, she gets heated, an argument starts, and a fight ensues.

    What’s a couple to do? Most arguments are a timing issue. If both of you are discussing a sensitive subject and one of you becomes unpleasant or unsafe, call a time-out and wait until cooler heads prevail to reengage. No sensitive subject will become a win for both of you while one or both of you are over emotional. The more rational person should suggest a better time to resume the conversation when both of you have on your adult hats. That is the time least likely to cause an argument.